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Retail

Roundup: M&A & Partnerships

Contact the Editor at karina@plainlanguagemedia.com.

New Media Frontiers

At a London event, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish shared that the company is looking at launching a branded AVOD portal that will draw in viewers by providing them with free digital content. Viacom will not, however, “follow Disney down the path of developing a Netflix-type streaming service because of the massive capital expenditure required to enter that space,” according to DigitalTVEurope.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond said that he is in “active discussions” with streaming services like Netflix about releasing its movies in a separate conference. Per Business Insider, any deal Imax has with a streaming title would respect the 90-day exclusive theatrical window currently in place for all theatrical releases.

Sports Gambling

The National Football League’s (NFL) annual revenue may increase by $2.3 billion a year due to widely available, legal, regulated sports betting, according to a new Nielsen Sports study commissioned by the American Gaming Association (AGA). New revenue sources include $1.75 billion in new revenue from media rights, sponsorships, merchandise, and ticket sale—a 13.4% jump attributable to greater fan engagement and viewership. An additional $573 million can come from betting operator spend on advertising ($451 million), sponsorships ($92 million), and data ($30 million).

Chelsea Football Club announces a new long-term partnership with Fanatics. Fanatics will become the exclusive global e-commerce partner for the club, operating a new and improved shopping service for Chelsea’s worldwide fan base through chelseamegastore.com.

A new survey from CSG finds nearly half of American Gen Z and Millennials (44%) are interested in VR/AR as a way to get the “in-stadium” experience at home. The survey also found, however, that the majority of all respondents aren’t willing to pay more for add-on features such as multi-game or split screen access; access to personalized content; access to extras such as stats or virtual-reality enabled camera angles.

Retail Formats

Barnes & Noble opens another small-scale prototype store in Columbia, Md. with a 17,000 sq. ft. footprint, down from a typical 26,000 sq. ft. The location includes two large “book theaters,” self-service kiosks, a café with chargers, and booksellers armed with tablets. Non-book items for sale include vinyl records and turntables, games, and gift items.

Book sales declined 1.4% in the first half of 2018 compared to the first six months of 2017, according to figures released by the AAP through its StatShot program. The dip was driven by a 13.6% drop in sales in the K-12 instructional materials segment—but the two main consumer categories grew, with adult-based sales up 4.2% and children’s/young adult sales showing flattish 0.3% growth over the first half of 2017. Specifically, growth of hardcover and paperback formats for the children’s/young adult segment stalled with under 1% decline, while “other” formats saw a 24.2% increase. The religious segment had the largest sales gain in the first six months with revenue growing 11.5%.

Chicago is getting a cashier-less Amazon Go store, the fourth of its ilk employing Just Walk Out tech. This and three other Seattle stores are, on average, 2,000 sq. ft. and sell a high-end assortment of grab-and-go lunch foods as well as chilled beverages, sweets, snacks, ready-made salads, and sandwiches, frozen foods, meal kits for dinners, plus some groceries and sundries. Amazon is planning on opening 3,000 stores by 2021.

High-end American fashion label Henri Bendel will shut down in January 2019 after 123 years in business. Parentco L Brands will put its focus on more profitable brands, which include lingerie seller Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. While new merchandise will be available in Bendel stores for the holiday season, the label’s 23 stores, including the flagship Fifth Avenue location, are slated to close.

Staples acquires office-supply competitor Essendant (form. United Stationers) for $996 million—$482.7 million in cash, plus $513.3 million in debt. Since the retailer was bought out by private-equity firm Sycamore Partners last year in a $6.9 billion deal, Staples has been snapping up smaller companies in a bid to consolidate the office supply industry and squeeze out profits. Despite losing $267 million last year, Essendant fielded three merger offers; Staples was forced to pay a $12 million breakup fee with another company to close the deal.

Games Workshop reports that sales through independent retailers were up 54% to $53.9 million in North America in fiscal 2018 (ended June 3). That dramatically outpaces growth in sales at company-owned stores, which were up 33% to $28.7 million.  And since sales to the trade are at wholesale, retail sales through the trade are probably around triple retail sales through company owned stores in North America.

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